This Isn't What I Expected

Notes on healing postpartum depression

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PP Psychosis

When I was pregnant with my son, I was scared pantsless of post-partum psychosis. I knew it was far more unlikely than PP Depression, but I'd lived with depression for years, so it didn't scare me; a bit more, or a bit less, was not going to make a huge difference. PP Psychosis, on the other hand, would be something entirely new.

What scared me even *more* than the possibility of PPP, though, was the fact that *nobody* around me even seemed to *know* about it! None of my pregnant friends had ever mentioned it. None of the doctors had warned me about it. It was absolutely nowhere to be found in the mountains of leaflets and documentation I was given throughout my pregnancy and then at the clinic when I gave birth - the very same papers which kept warning over and over about PP Depression. Literally, it seemed like NOBODY was aware of the possibility of PPP happening, and of the necessity to keep half-an-eye on me in the first weeks after I gave birth. Basically, should I ever happen to unwittingly become a statistic, it would be entirely up to me to notice something wrong going on with myself, and to get help before my mind was too gone and I did something potentially horrible. And *that* state of affairs, that utter loneliness in which to face such a grave danger, was FAR more bone-chillingly terrifying to me than the possibility of the baby-blues.

That was 11 years ago. Yet, to this day still, when I happen to mention post-partum psychosis for whatever reason, I am almost always met with a completely blank look. It never ceases to baffle me, and to make me hurt for the poor befuddled new mothers out there who fall victim to it and cannot understand what is happening to them.

Thank you, Del, for your

Thank you, Del, for your comment. And you are right, people today are no less freaked by the subject of psychosis than they were many years ago. Mostly, this is due to tons of misinformation.

Thank you for helping spread the word that women need good information and their families and doctors need to be vigilant.

I appreciate your candor.


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Karen Kleiman is founder and director of The Postpartum Stress Center, a treatment and training center for prenatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.


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